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Antiuniversity: Our Place in the Universe: The Story of Modern Cosmology [S...
Sun 11 June 2017, 10:30 – 12:30 BST
Cosmology as a science began exactly 100 years ago with Einstein’s first paper applying General Relativity to the entire Universe. This is an audacious attempt to apply a radical idea to something of monumental philosophical importance. Cosmologists seek to use observation, combined with mathematics, to understand fundamental questions related to the origin, composition, growth, and fate of the entire Universe. In the last 20 years cosmology has gone from speculation to precision science, and humanity has learned amazing things about the size and composition of the Universe that were previously the realm of science fiction. This is thanks largely to observations of the “cosmic microwave background radiation”. I will describe advances in modern cosmology relating to theories of the size and origin of the Universe and Dark Matter, and how these theories are grounded in observational facts. The progress of cosmology has been collaborative, and also full of interaction and debate among competing ideas. I will try and describe the human story behind these advances as an example of the scientific method, and what they might mean for us all. I will attempt to debunk the idea that theoretical physicists hold dearly to "paradigms", and that on the contrary the field is open to all ideas expressed with sufficient clarity, rigour, and evidence.
This event is part of the Antiuniversity Now festival 10-16 June 2017
See the full programme on www.antiuniversity.org from 2 May
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Note that time and number of tickets are not yet confirmed.
[The image shown is the "Hubble Ultra Deep Field". It is an image of a dark part of the sky about the size of a grain of rice held at arms length. Each point of light in it (with the exception of a few foreground stars) is a galaxy, each of which contains some 100 billion stars. Some of the galaxies in this image are measured to be more than 10 billion light years away from us. Due to the finite speed of light, this means we can view the Universe as it was 10 billion years ago, and do cosmic archaeology.]